Monterey

17 - 18 August 2012

Lot 240A

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder

To be auctioned on Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sold for $8,580,000

  • Chassis no. 3119 GT
  • Engine no. 3119 GT


280 bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine, three Weber carburetors, four-speed gearbox, independent front suspension via A-arms, coil springs, and telescopic shock absorbers, live rear axle with semi-elliptical springs and telescopic shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm (94.5?)

• One of only 37 covered headlight examples built
• Unquestionably one of the most attractive and desirable Ferraris in existence
• Matching numbers and Ferrari Classiche certified
• Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance class winner

Without a doubt, the 250 GT SWB California Spyder is one of the most beautiful cars ever to pass through Ferrari’s fabled gates on Via Abetone Inferiore. With its stunning bodywork designed by Pininfarina and masterfully executed by Scaglietti, the car was a collaboration of the very best.

As with all other road cars, the California Spyder’s design was based on the experience gained from the Scuderia’s sports and Grand Prix racing efforts. Convertibles, in particular, were readily marketable to a select clientele in Europe and were especially attractive to the burgeoning market in North America, served by Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann. To respond to this market, Ferrari created two legendary series of road cars: the cabriolets and the spyders.

The 250 GT Pininfarina Series II Cabriolets were based upon one of Ferrari’s earliest volumes of series-built production cars, the 250 GT Pininfarina Coupes, and like the PF Coupe, they were nicely trimmed and fitted for everyday use and long trips. Combining the exciting performance of Ferrari’s race-proven 3.0-litre V-12 engine with the excellent handling and supple ride of the 2,600 mm wheelbase chassis, the Series II 250 GT PF Cabriolet had a well-earned and highly justified reputation as a superb, elegant, and understated touring car with quality interior appointments, soundproofing, and classic Ferrari styling.

On the other hand, there was the California Spyder. Also designed by Pininfarina, it was based upon the 250 GT Tour de France, Ferrari’s dual-purpose berlinetta, and it shared its character: lighter, more responsive, and faster, with characteristics closer to those of a racing car than its more luxurious stable mates. The California Spyder, first offered on a 2,600 mm wheelbase, was developed for a group of performance-oriented drivers who wanted both the pace of the berlinettas and the open-air feel of a convertible.

In 1959, Ferrari introduced a short wheelbase 250 GT Berlinetta that offered quicker, more responsive handling, followed a year later by its California Spyder variant, introduced at Geneva in 1960. While the SWB Berlinetta got a newly designed body, the SWB California Spyder continued with its LWB sibling’s coachwork, with its styling drawn and executed more tautly and sharply over the shorter wheelbase. True dual-purpose automobiles, they were at home on the streets of Beverly Hills and the open roads and racing circuits of Europe and North America, epitomizing both style and prestige. Many of Ferrari’s clients were wealthy, famous, and titled patrons. In Hollywood, a number of leading actors owned Ferraris, including such famed actors as Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, and James Coburn.

Apart from the French Riviera and Hollywood, however, the California Spyders were also mainstays on racetracks around the world, as privateer teams and customers soon saw the competition potential of these open top Ferraris. American driver Richie Ginther co-drove with Howard Hively in a LWB version to win the GT Class at the 1959 12 Hours of Sebring. The most remarkable competition success, however, was undoubtedly N.A.R.T.’s 5th overall at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Beaten only by two Aston Martin sports racing cars and two Ferrari competition coupes, the N.A.R.T.-entered Ferrari California Spyder of Bob Grossman and Fernand Tavano covered 3964.491 km at an average speed of 165.187 km/h, including pit stops.

All told, Ferrari produced a total of just 106 California Spyders, 56 of them on the short wheelbase chassis. Of those 56, only about 37 were delivered in the most desirable of all configurations: the very attractive covered-headlamp variant. The stunning SWB 250 GT California Spyder on offer, chassis no. 3119 GT, is one such example. It was sold new in March 1962, through official importer Jacques Swaters’ Garage Francorchamps SA, of Brussels, Belgium. The first owner was Fredy Damman. Enthusiasts will recall Damman purchased another SWB California Spyder, chassis no. 2377 GT, through Swaters, which was then purchased in 1964 by James Coburn and sold in 2008 at RM Auctions’ Ferrari Leggenda e Passione auction event.

Like the ex-Coburn car, 3119 GT also found its way to the United States, and by March 1970, it was owned by Philipp Cole, of California. Walt McCune showed the car at the Newport Beach Concours d’Elegance in October 1989 before it was restored in the 1990s at Luigi Menerella’s shop. McCune and Luciano Fabbio showed the car at the 40th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was presented along with other cars influenced by Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini and won its class. A class award at Pebble Beach is quite inarguably one of the most sought-after honors for any collector car, and one that confirms this Ferrari’s superb restoration, authenticity, and extraordinary desirability.

Bill Bauce purchased the car in the mid-1990s and showed it at the 29th Annual Ferrari Club of America national meeting in Palm Beach, where it was a class winner, before going the year after to the Ferrari Club of America International Concours in Monterey, California.

The current owner, a knowledgeable and highly-respected Ferrari enthusiast, has maintained the car in his world-class collection since acquiring it a number of years ago. It is on the button and ready to be toured or shown in the most exclusive venues around the world. As one of only about 37 covered headlamp examples, it is, unquestionably, one of the most desirable open top GT cars ever made and is equally as rare as its mighty sibling, the 250 GTO. The opportunity to acquire a California Spyder rarely comes along, particularly one of this pedigree and exceptional rarity.

Addendum

Please note that although this vehicle is not featured in the catalog, we are pleased to offer it for sale on Saturday night.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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+1 212 894 1301
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Political Science. ... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

pgiddings@rmauctions.com

+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more